Masks on Campus


Starting Monday, May 10, 2021, Northern will be a “mask optional” environment. Social distancing restrictions will also be lifted. 

Read more HERE.



The South Dakota Board of Regents adopted a face covering protocol mandating the use of masks at Northern State University and the other five public universities. The protocol, which applies to all students, staff, faculty and campus visitors, provides for four differentiated levels of response:

  • Level 1 requires face coverings in all classroom or lab settings where course delivery requires close proximity or physical contact and makes Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations on physical distancing impractical. Examples are instructional laboratories, clinical training environments, and design or art studio instruction.
  • Level 2 requires face coverings in all public areas of academic buildings on campus (including classrooms, hallways, and common areas), along with other indoor areas where 30 or more individuals frequently congregate or interact in a setting not conducive to maintaining CDC-recommended physical distancing.
  • Level 3 requires face coverings in all public indoor spaces on campus. 
  • Level 4 requires face coverings in all public indoor and outdoor areas of campus.

Significant community spread of the coronavirus in certain areas of the state, or other special circumstances, may result in an individual campus or location operating at a different level within the tiered framework from other institutions.

Starting May 10, 2021, NSU and the other BOR universities will become “mask optional” environments. For details, see "Public Universities Mask Optional as of May 10."

The BOR Face Covering Protocol applies to all students, staff, faculty and campus visitors.

Masks are required any time you are inside a public indoor space on campus, per the BOR Face Covering Protocol.

Yes. While a face mask can help fight the spread of the coronavirus, it is not a replacement for social distancing practices. While wearing a mask, you should continue to maintain a distance of at least six feet from other people, and should continue to practice your normal hygiene and social distancing routine.

No. Medical-grade face masks should be reserved for health professionals and first responders.

A face mask can be made out of common household materials. It should be built out of multiple layers of cloth of material that you can breathe through and which can be fit snugly around your face. It should preferably be made of cloth that can be laundered and dried for re-use. Find a guide to making your own face mask using homemade materials at the CDC's DIY Cloth Face Coverings.

Your individual residence hall room is your private space; therefore, masks are currently not required in individual residence hall rooms. However, while walking through the common spaces of your residence hall, you should be wearing an adequate face covering.

Yes, but we ask that you make all efforts to socially distance yourselves. Also, if you have friends in your private residence hall room, we ask that you then consider your space public and you should all be wearing masks while socially distancing.

Similarly to residence halls, individuals with private offices are currently not required to wear masks while in their space. However, if a guest, visitor or student comes into your private office, you should consider your office public for the time being and all people in the room should be wearing masks and socially distancing. Office areas in which several individuals work in the same open area are considered public space and all individuals should wear a mask.

NSU will provide one mask for each employee and student. Your department can submit a request for non-branded masks for employees through Cleaning and Safety Materials Request Form. Students living on campus will receive a mask when moving into the residence halls. Students who live off campus may pick up their mask at the Office of Student Affairs (Student Center 222).

Branded masks are available for sale at the Wolf Shoppe and Athletic Team Store. University funds will not be used to purchase branded masks for employees.

The face covering protocol is set by the South Dakota Board of Regents. If faculty and staff have questions, they are encouraged to visit with their direct supervisor. If students have questions, they should contact the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

Contact Us

For questions about alternative arrangements, such as clear masks or face shields, please contact Student Accessibility Services.